Definition of surge in US English:



  • 1A sudden powerful forward or upward movement, especially by a crowd or by a natural force such as the waves or tide.

    ‘flooding caused by tidal surges’
    • ‘The hurricane pounded the shore with 100-mile-an-hour winds, torrential rain, and tidal surges more than six feet high.’
    • ‘The only serious injury was sustained by a club steward who fell down stairs at the stadium during a crowd surge.’
    • ‘A seawall at Herrington was broached by the surge, destroying large sections of docks.’
    • ‘During the hurricane, the one-story bar was swamped by the tidal surge.’
    • ‘This caused a surge forward, and small groups of protesters began pushing up against the police riot shields.’
    • ‘He tosses it beyond a breaking wave, and it bobs and sinks in the maelstrom of receding water colliding with the next surge of the tide.’
    • ‘Then there is a surge as the crowd changes direction.’
    • ‘The surge forward as the car rockets away down the road is a serious g-force event.’
    • ‘If you go down Brigade Road, you can only inch forwards, pushed on by the surge of the crowd.’
    • ‘The traffic light changed, the traffic cop motioned for the crowd to cross, there was a surge forward, and suddenly the whole tone of the demonstration changed.’
    • ‘The banks are still perforated in places by flapped devices which allow the outflow of rainwater at low tide, while preventing inundation by the incoming tidal surge.’
    • ‘They hang on precariously on to the vehicle and their job is to ensure that anyone who gets close to the leader does not end up falling on him or her due to the surge of the crowd from behind.’
    • ‘At this time of year, monsoons in the area cause tidal surges and high waves.’
    • ‘Grace and Mark entered with the surge of the crowd.’
    • ‘Monstrous storms descend from the Artic circle, blanketing Europe in snow, sending a tidal surge across the US east coast, and flattening the west.’
    • ‘A tidal surge of five to ten feet is preceding the normal high tides, which are happening at the same time.’
    • ‘Rita is driving massive storm surges and bringing with it torrential rainfall.’
    gush, rush, outpouring, stream, flow, sweep
    swell, swelling, heaving, billowing, rolling, roll, bulging, eddying, swirling, tide
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sudden large increase, typically a brief one that happens during an otherwise stable or quiescent period.
      ‘the firm predicted a 20% surge in sales’
      • ‘Killarney is experiencing a surge in interest for larger retail units, mirroring a trend seen in other large rural towns, according to local agents.’
      • ‘Sports marketing companies are predicting a surge in the sales of Jordan merchandise.’
      • ‘In fact, the biggest surge in recent sales trends has been for flip-up, network-backed, celebrity-endorsed models.’
      • ‘Last year, the huge surge in new auto sales came in the small car categories.’
      • ‘Is that just a short-term boost, caused by a temporary surge in the oil price?’
      • ‘Mobile phone companies have reported a massive surge in sales in the run-up to Christmas.’
      • ‘Watch out for a surge of interest in the Honda CR-V, which gets a marvellous new diesel engine next year.’
      • ‘The Halifax suggests that low interest rates and strong consumer confidence is behind the latest surge in prices.’
      • ‘Fancy dress shops have reported an unusual surge in demand for Elvis costumes this week.’
      • ‘It naturally caused a sensation and there was a temporary surge of interest.’
      • ‘The surge was mainly due to the maiden operation of four new production lines during the period, Zhang said.’
      • ‘The latest surge in house-price inflation has been spurred by the lowest mortgage rates for 40 years.’
      • ‘Well, the latest surge in activity started about a week ago.’
      • ‘Due to the recent surge of stock options, more investors today than ever before seem to have problems with overly concentrated portfolios.’
      • ‘The result has been a surge of interest in properties within this price bracket.’
      • ‘Behind the recent surge in demand is a pickup in consumer spending after a long spell in the doldrums.’
      • ‘After decades with barely a mention, the game seems to have experienced a huge surge in popularity.’
      • ‘Despite a recent surge in popularity, the auction rooms have not been profitable for the past 10 years.’
      • ‘Apart from a temporary, minor surge in the sale of motor vehicles, expenditures on consumer durables were flat over the year.’
      • ‘Most important, the turn for the better in the job market over the past year has supplied the household sector with a growth surge in income from wages and salaries.’
      sudden increase, rise, growth, upswing, upsurge, escalation, jump, leap, boost
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A major deployment of military forces to reinforce those already in a particular area.
      • ‘At the peak of the surge, up to 80 aircraft were parked on the ramp, including 23 C - 5 Galaxy aircraft carrying supplies and people to the war zone.’
      • ‘At the peak of the surge, four large, medium-speed, roll-on-roll-off vessels and one fast sealift ship were berthed at the same time.’
      • ‘The U.S. Navy will conduct a major "surge" exercise off the China coast later this Summer.’
      • ‘During sortie surges when aircraft fly four times per day, two hot pit sessions reduce the flying hour window by over 3 hours.’
      • ‘Average turnaround time during the ground war surge rate flight operations was 23 minutes.’
      • ‘Current production facilities were generally built to handle Cold War requirements for major end items and accommodate a mobilization surge.’
      • ‘Note that surge is not necessarily a result of a single contingency.’
      • ‘Tolman and others didn't know it at the time, but the surge had just begun.’
      • ‘The surge of these armies would come to an end during the second week of September.’
      • ‘During the surge, Task Force 385 managed the movement of 211,000 pieces of equipment through the port.’
    3. 1.3 A powerful rush of an emotion or feeling.
      ‘Sophie felt a surge of anger’
      • ‘The the air was filled with a surge of excitement.’
      • ‘About an hour ago I felt a surge of emotion encompassing me.’
      • ‘Television appeals to emotion, a surge of emotion, and it doesn't really make much difference what the emotion is about.’
      • ‘She felt a surge of powerful emotions - fear, anger, and even power.’
      • ‘All that was needed was a sufficient amount of anger and a powerful surge of hatred.’
      • ‘I held back the surge of emotions stirred by her words.’
      • ‘He continued to look at the car and then a surge of emotion ran over his face: anger.’
      • ‘Cray hid a surge of some unidentifiable emotion.’
      • ‘Hiding her face behind her shoulder-length black hair, she fought for control as a powerful surge of emotions swept through her.’
      • ‘A fleeting surge of pride filled her for a second, but it was quickly displaced by disappointment.’
      • ‘The surges of emotion that this dog experiences can be both light and dark.’
      • ‘I shouted, feeling a sudden surge of anger.’
      • ‘Who can deny that surge of pride at being told Britain has bronze in the yachting?’
      • ‘The good boss who finds one of his executives has failed to deliver a piece of research on time and to the right standard will probably feel a surge of anger or irritation.’
      • ‘The pace is slow and the mood sombre, even dreamy, cut across occasionally by great surges of emotion.’
      • ‘A new surge of anger surged through her, making her whole body tremble.’
      • ‘Throughout Taiwan there was a striking surge of emotion by the public.’
      • ‘The mere realisation that it's possible, the frightening strength and unexpected occurrence of the surge of emotion is enough to give such a jolt to your body and your mind that you never forget.’
      • ‘For those of strong mind, such as the author of this novel, harnessing these surges of emotions can lead to great power.’
      • ‘Even consciously, she could feel her newly found power surge through her veins.’
      rush, blast, storm, torrent, blaze, outburst, eruption
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A sudden marked increase in voltage or current in an electric circuit.
      • ‘A good UPS should also offer line conditioning, which means it should also be able to compensate for extended drops in voltage and filter spikes and surges.’
      • ‘It lasted no longer than a minute, but it sent electric surges through them both.’
      • ‘If there is an unexpected surge, the ground wire will siphon the electricity down before it reaches the part of the line that's getting repaired.’
      • ‘The power surge put a sudden burst of heat into the uranium fuel, and it broke up into little pieces.’
      • ‘The surge of electricity blew a nearby transformer, knocking out the power supply.’
      • ‘He had repaired the meteor damage but somewhere some circuits had been fried from a power surge and he wasn't able to track them all down.’
      • ‘Electronic failures are most common after a power surge or due to some other electric problem, and the most common type is control board failure.’
      • ‘Its circuits seemed to spark and its visual screen simply gave out as a surge of electric energy ripped through its metal frame.’
      • ‘His glove resisted destruction, but it became super hot and the sheer force of the surge almost propelled him out into the engine room.’
      • ‘UPSs can protect equipment from the full range of potential power anomalies - not just outages, surges and spikes.’
      • ‘After the electric surge, which happens for about ten minutes, the mixture has to be put into extreme heat so that the impurities in the mixture are removed.’
      • ‘Voltage surges and spikes occur for a number of reasons.’
      • ‘This weapon generates a very short, intense energy pulse producing a transient surge of thousands of volts that kills semiconductor devices.’
      • ‘Power surges travel through any electric, telephone, or coaxial cable line.’
      • ‘The hardware has been redesigned to prevent damage caused by short circuits or power surges.’
      • ‘Other situations affecting power quality are transients or spikes, surges or over-voltages, noise and sags or brownouts.’
      • ‘The beeping quickened as he watched the electrical current surge higher and higher with a sigh.’
      • ‘A power surge pulsed from the handle, causing the glow to explode around Zach.’
      • ‘The result is a surge of extra electric current into power systems and every other sort of cable.’


[no object]
  • 1(of a crowd or a natural force) move suddenly and powerfully forward or upward.

    ‘the journalists surged forward’
    • ‘The gun went off and Amie surged to the front of the pack.’
    • ‘The sail billows out and the boat surges forward across the water.’
    • ‘The crowd surged forward again, forcing the couple to keep on moving.’
    • ‘A Japanese runner surges to the front, but is soon hauled in.’
    • ‘The crowd was surging forward, deafening him with screams and cheers, more high pitched than not, as the majority of the throng pushing him forward seemed to be girls.’
    • ‘At times the crowd surged, making it difficult to maintain order.’
    • ‘The police did not relent which forced the crowd to surge forward down a driveway to force the release of these women.’
    • ‘The white smoke goes up, the crowd surges into St. Peter's Square, and the tiny figure in white emerges on the balcony.’
    • ‘As has been the case at every show, the crowd surges toward the stage.’
    • ‘I was momentarily free and I surged upward to the air.’
    • ‘I had just crouched down to pick it up when everyone naturally decided to surge forward.’
    • ‘The crowds surged forward to the car door as it opened, but when I emerged, I was met with nothing but blank stares.’
    • ‘The crowds surged forward immediately and smashed the sign.’
    • ‘After thanking the crowd for their immense support over the years, the group kicked into their set as a sweaty throng of spectators surged forward and a small circle pit opened up.’
    • ‘At about midday a truck pulled up and the crowd surged forward.’
    • ‘He surged to his feet, vision doubling as he did so.’
    • ‘Some say that one of the organisers threw a sari into the crowd and the women surged forward to grab it, causing the tragedy.’
    • ‘The crowd surged forward, driven by sheer desperation and fear.’
    • ‘At several points the crowd surged beyond Miller's control.’
    • ‘When the cast began to emerge, the crowd surged forward, and it was mayhem.’
    gush, rush, stream, flow, burst, pour, cascade, spill, overflow, brim over, well, sweep, spout, spurt, jet, spew, discharge, roll, whirl
    rise, swell, heave, billow, roll, eddy, swirl
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Increase suddenly and powerfully, typically during an otherwise stable or quiescent period.
      ‘shares surged to a record high’
      • ‘Shares in the retailer surged more than 20 per cent in trading on Tuesday after it confirmed an approach had been made.’
      • ‘Most of the U.S. wireless industry surged in the first quarter as new subscribers soared.’
      • ‘Confidence surged in the second quarter, even though spending growth slowed.’
      • ‘Such a drop commonly occurs when the Index surges rapidly out of its normal pattern.’
      • ‘Yesterday's decline represented a complete reversal on yesterday's session, when shares surged upwards.’
      • ‘The prospect of power cuts had risen during the late 1990s as demand for power surged in line with economic growth.’
      • ‘Passenger car sales surged 76 per cent last year to 1.97 million units.’
      • ‘That demand surged more than 4 percent in April but supply is 5 percent below the five-year average.’
      • ‘Already, the stock is surging nearly 40 percent.’
      • ‘As the new millennium dawned and state-wide demand for power surged, the crisis broke.’
      • ‘There's no way to pick and choose which gets cut off when demand surges, prices spike, and supply gets tight.’
      • ‘The United States trade deficit with the rest of the world has surged once again to a new record.’
      • ‘The shares surged 5.08 per cent before the close.’
      • ‘Stoked in part by the success of the iPod music player, Apple shares have surged to nearly $34 recently - the highest in four years.’
      • ‘He warned that unless supply continued to meet demand, prices would surge once again.’
      • ‘Fuel prices that surged to records have also eroded profitability.’
      • ‘The index surged just one day after setting a new 52-week low at 81.80 points.’
      • ‘However, recently oil demand has surged as globalisation fuels double-digit growth in China and India.’
      • ‘The testing equipment-maker's shares surged as sales rose for the first time in six quarters.’
      • ‘One of them was barely in school when he mastered a sport that is surging in popularity.’
      increase suddenly, rise, grow, escalate, jump, leap, boost
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of an emotion or feeling) affect someone powerfully and suddenly.
      ‘indignation surged up within her’
      • ‘A pounding feeling of adrenaline surged through her.’
      • ‘I hated this feeling, this indescribable and uncomfortable emotion surging up within me.’
      • ‘A nameless feeling surges when I see other people's families come.’
      • ‘A feeling of triumph surged into the student's body.’
      • ‘A feeling of pride surged through me and I couldn't stop smiling.’
      • ‘When the principal told her that he was going to call her parents, a feeling of dread surged in her.’
      • ‘Jealousy suddenly surged within me, and I took off, running.’
      • ‘Panic surged in her chest, cutting off her breath.’
      • ‘I had so many emotions and feelings surging through me at the same time then - emptiness is just not the right description.’
      • ‘Adrenaline surges through your veins, and somehow, you jump.’
      • ‘I turned away from him, angry feelings surging through me.’
      • ‘An odd feeling was suddenly surging through her and as she opened her front door, she felt the tears slowly stop.’
      • ‘My voice is loud, but also rather high-pitched, and on the verge of cracking with all of the emotion surging within me.’
      • ‘Jerry had a hard time concentrating, with so many voices and so many emotions surging through him.’
      • ‘My joy and hope surged as Schulz cast a very different light on the situation.’
      • ‘Excitement and fear surged through her as she looked at the stick.’
      • ‘My heart raced and emotions surged before I consciously grasped the meaning of what I was reading in that footnote.’
      • ‘Ines tried to shake off the feelings surging inside her but failed completely.’
      • ‘I look at my sisters and the delight on their faces matches the joy surging inside of me.’
      • ‘Another excitement surged in her - it was night already.’
      affect, rush over, rush through, thrill through, race over, surge through, course through, flood over, flow over, sweep over, flutter through
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 (of an electric voltage or current) increase suddenly.
      • ‘I could feel immense surges of electricity surging through my body.’
      • ‘Just as an electrical fuse blows when power surges, so the human electrical system short circuits when overwhelmed.’
      • ‘A huge amount of electricity surged through his body, sending him stumbling back a few feet.’
      • ‘I paid attention to the electricity that surged from my fingers to the very tips of my toes.’
      • ‘He screamed in pain as he hit the portal, a blue electric current surging around his body.’
      • ‘The current surged through my leg, and I screamed again.’
      • ‘A bolt of electricity surged through her body, and Kessah shrieked loudly.’
      • ‘As the magnetic storm raged through the night, huge geomagnetically induced currents surged through the wires and cables.’
      • ‘Cooper yelled as his body surged with electricity.’
    4. 1.4Nautical (of a rope, chain, or windlass) slip back with a jerk.


Late 15th century (in the sense ‘fountain, stream’): the noun (in early use) from Old French sourgeon; the verb partly from the Old French stem sourge-, based on Latin surgere ‘to rise’. Early senses of the verb included ‘rise and fall on the waves’ and ‘swell with great force’.